How Do You Recover After A Workout?


Contrary to popular opinion, you do not need to be an elite athlete to benefit from recovering with the right fuel mix after training. In fact, if you are training several times each week as you prepare for the Sunshine Beach Run, in addition to balancing work and family commitments, a good recovery program is exactly what you need to ensure you have enough energy to maintain your hectic schedule over the next few weeks. 

The benefits of optimal recovery practices for elite athletes are well documented; improved recovery times, reduced muscle soreness, improved follow up sessions and lower levels of fatigue which can be demonstrated in the investment most elite sporting clubs give to optimal hydration, nutritional and supplementation strategies post training and competition. The physiology of recreational athletes is no different and hence optimal nutritional practices to promote muscle recovery are also likely to benefit any athlete who is running training for an hour or more on most days of the week.

Research has repeatedly shown that there is a key window of opportunity when it comes to muscle recovery. It is known that muscle glycogen restoration is significantly enhanced when a mixture of both carbohydrates and a small amount of protein is consumed within 30 minutes of finishing a session. From a practical perspective this means that waiting until you return home to a carb free dinner of meat and vegetables may not be the best thing to do by your body. Instead, taking a compact, nutritionally balanced snack that contains both carbohydrates and proteins such as dairy snacks or bread with a protein rich filling such as peanut butter, tuna or cheese and consume it immediately after your session.

While high GI supplementary sports products including get shots, sports drinks and bars are regularly promoted to be the best choice when it comes to recovery, for recreational athletes, the high carbohydrate loads of these products, without the extra recovery benefit of protein mean that although you get a bit of sugar, you get a whole lot of extra kilojoules that you may not need. For example, a bottle of sports drink contains 30+ grams of carbohydrates per bottle without protein and >1000kJ as opposed to a liquid meal drink which contains a similar amount of carbohydrates with the added benefit of protein for far fewer kilojoules. 

The second important component of optimal recovery is ensuring you drink enough fluid once your session is finished to fully re-hydrate. While many of us are in the good habit of drinking plenty of fluid when training, the importance of hydrating for a number of hours after finishing training is often overlooked. Get into the habit of weighing yourself before and after long sessions to determine how much fluid you are losing. Remember, you will then need to drink 1 ½ times the amount of weight you have lost to fully replace your fluid losses and optimally re-hydrate to be ready for your next session. 

Top recovery snacks

  • ½ Peanut butter sandwich on grain bread
  • Low fat chocolate milk
  • Tub of Greek yoghurt
  • Eggs on wholegrain toast
  • Protein/Carbohydrate snack bar
  • Skim milk coffee
  • Fruit Smoothie

Recovery Shake

  • Recovery shake
  • 250mls skim milk
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 1 cup frozen berries

Choc Peppermint Bliss Balls

Serves 10

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (Use vegan protein powder if needed.)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. stevia
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Few drops peppermint extract
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup almonds, crushed


  1. Mix almond meal, coconut flower and cocoa in a bowl.
  2. In a small bowl mix protein powder, pinch of salt, water, stevia and vanilla extract.
  3. Add to dry ingredients a bit at a time whilst mixing.
  4. Once combined, add the peppermint extract and honey.
  5. Use heaped tablespoons of the mixture to roll into balls and then roll in coconut flour and crushed almonds to cover the balls.
  6. Refrigerate for an hour until set and either keep in the fridge or an air tight container.

Susie Burrell

Please note: This blog aims to supply user-friendly nutrition information for busy people without comprising on food taste and quality but should be used as a guide only and not in place of advice from your own dietitian or medical specialist. For further information on this topic, please consult your health professional. The content of this blog, including attachments, may be privileged and confidential. Any un-authorised use of this content is expressly prohibited. Any views that are expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender expressly, and with authority, states them to be the views of Susie Burrell Pty Ltd.
Category: Nutrition

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